Fingers and all available appendages crossed.

There is just over a week until my second foray into filmmaking and I cannot wait to get it done. I am a little more apprehensive about this film as, like anyone else who has been in the same position, I want it to be an improvement on the first. I want the pace to be better, the performances better directed, the story to punch more, I just want it better. Hence the apprehensiveness. Plus I have been reading Syd Fields and have recently finished reading Blake Snyder, so my brain is awash with story structure and plot and conflict and moving the story forward and…well you get what I mean. You can almost study too much. The sheer volume of opinion and ‘right’ way to do things can be overwhelming. There are a lot of people, writing a lot of stuff, doing seminars, sending ezines, all purporting to be telling you how to break into television, film, Hollywood or all of them.
The thing is – and this why the market is SO big for filmmaking guru-ism – they are all right. Pretty much all of what you read or hear in seminars, online, in documentary interview or whatever, is well intentioned worked-for-that-person, nuggets of wisdom. Of course there are necessary elements; story craft, framing, beginning, middle and end, the things which should always be present. At some point, you have to do the deed and, if you enjoy it, want to make a career, do it again and again until you get good – or maybe – even great, at it. My road to ‘good’ begins next Saturday.

Must try to get here more often….

Hi occasional perusers of my witterings, I am thinking that I need to get back to my blogging ways, if for no other reason only than to empty my head! Though this will not be the soul searching kind of blatherings of my youth, I will no doubt whine, gripe, grumble, pontificate and babble about all things film, filmmaking and film/tv production related.
So, enough of my meandering intro, what film/tv gem of subject matter do I have to share today? As well you may ask! I only happened to purchase a ticket to the London Breakfast club talk featuring Jane Espenson (Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica) and Brad Bell (Husbands)! In a room full of would-be scribes and fanboys/girls, we sat rapt for over an hour as they spoke about some of the challenges faced in producing their joint venture ‘Husbands’. Rather than take notes – I am no secretary! – I recorded the audio which you can listen to here. Hope you enjoy it! (apologies for the crackly opening, was recording it on my mobile…)

Done it!

And so it ended. I finally finished my film and it was a brilliant experience! You can see the film here.
On a very sunny Saturday in April, four strangers – the actors, a sound man and a cameraman, descended on my homestead. We – well I had anyway – planned to start at nine o’clock, under pressure to get the film shot because, for various reasons, I only had the one day to get it done.
One needs to understand, this was my first foray into directing and I was working with people I do not know. Having said that, I enjoyed the whole experience immensely. Everything I wanted to do in the film, I did. And I learned a great deal; about directing, coverage, lighting and shot composition.
The set was a happy one, with the shoot speeding by. I was extremely lucky to have a highly experienced and competent cameraman on set. He was kind enough to guide me through my ignorance when it came to certain things; camera ready, clapperboard and lighting.
It also helped with my editing practice – FCP X for those that are interested – using the latest, industry dividing, editing software from Apple! Sound was interesting as well, especially the last scene. Overall, though the film was by no means a masterpiece, I was happy to get it done and realise that I could actually do it. Now if I could just stop procrastinating, I could get my next film made!

The road has an end, even if I am only in the middle!

The actors have been on board for an age. Initially, I had believed I had a crew, ready to go early to mid March. Then the cameraman got some work. No problem, I could wait. He contacted me; apologises, he could do another date. Okay, I could deal with that. Contact the actors, give them a new date, good to go. Cameraman comes back, got his dates mixed up. He can’t do the weekend he initially gave. Can do weekend after. Okay. Let’s do that. Actors agree, very accommodating. The cameraman cancels again. Says he will contact me and nail down a date. Hmm. Okay…..nothing. it was time to take matters into my own hands. The Web is a wonderful tool for the modern day, would be auteur. A quick Google for film crew people and a sign up to a filmmakers wannabe site – Shooting People – and I was advertising for a cameraman and sound recordist. After much toing and froing – everybody wants to know when the shoot is! – I have finally got a crew and a date. Still a couple of weeks away, so hopefully all will go well! It has been a long haul and it is only a five minute film! Got to love it.

A step closer.

Today – Sunday 3rd February – I moved another step closer to realising my first ever film; auditions. Having posted an ad on an industry website a fortnight ago, the fruits of my labour were realised today as around fifteen young actors enthusiastically arrived periodically to read and act my own words to me.
   Today was the first time I had ever heard my work read out loud. I was pleasantly surprised to hear it was not crap! Aside from a few pacing problems, it read and flowed really well. It helped that, for the most part, the actors came ready to perform and – luckily I am led to believe – took direction well.
Initially I had been quite nervous about the auditions, but the whole thing turned out to be quite enjoyable. I just have to pick the two actors from the quite impressive lot I saw today! Ah well, better too many than too few. Another step closer.